I recently went away for a long weekend to the majestic
Blue Ridge Mountains. Despite a couple of movie proportion hiccups,
including a fire at our beautiful bed and breakfast (caused by someone, an
idiot rather, flicking a cigarette into dry mulch beside the front deck) and
white out snow conditions the day after the fire, of which my boyfriend and I were
forced to drive through, it was an amazing weekend. We met really lovely people, all from
different states and towns and all with different life experiences. The day of the white out I had to leave my
car on the highway as the completely untreated roads which were free of any
snow 25 miles east had easily, and quickly, become 4-5 inches of dangerous
white powder on top of a thick layer of ice by the time we had almost reached the Inn. It seemed
like cars were skidding out the entire drive and we even passed salt trucks
that were sitting idly by on the exit ramps, obviously not having received the
green light from their higher power and of no help to the many cars on the
dangerously icy roads. I was a tightly
wound ball of anxiety by the time I reached the highway near our Inn. I didn’t even
attempt the steep hill up to our little haven and just left my car on the
highway between a deserted minivan and a station wagon, one of three cars
facing the reality of the storm conditions.
And as we settled in, happy to be safe and warm back inside the
we threw our clothes in the dryer, grabbed a glass of wine, and traded stories
with our fellow guests by the great room fireplace, everyone with a glass of
wine in hand, while the snow continued to fall inch by inch. We all remarked how beautiful the snow is
when you aren’t forced to drive through it.
Delighted to have guests snowed in for the evening, our gracious
innkeepers prepared a wonderful dinner of hearty winter chili full of perfectly
red kidney beans, rustic hunks of beef, and juicy stewed tomatoes. Topped with a bit of cheese, bright green
avocados, crisp green onions, a bit of sour cream, and a large crusty
baguette for dipping, it was flawless. You
had your choice of toppings of course but I tend to be very un-picky when it
comes to things like that, I love to have a bit of everything. For dessert we had warm pineapple upside down
cake and why stop at one cake? Our
wonderful hosts also prepared buttery pound cake underneath plump blueberries
and strawberries. My boyfriend and I
agreed that for dessert the only right thing to do was to take a plate of each
rather than to make it seem as if one dessert had been less appreciated than
the other. By now the snow had reached 8
inches and we all got up to get another glass of wine. The evening was perfect. It wasn’t at all what we planned but it was
So perhaps this isn’t a traditional recipe but I find it to be just as significant to file away in my favorites box.
A recipe for a great weekend
*Get out of town (even if only going an hour away and even if only for a day or two, get away from home).
*Stay at a bed and breakfast. Trust me, try it! Most hotels just can’t compare to the kind of warmth you get from a good B&B: amazing breakfasts made from scratch every morning that often include multiple courses (you’ll hardly need lunch) and range from items like pumpkin or lemon poppyseed pancakes and vegetable omelet soufflés to golden Belgian waffles with locally produced sausages, little extras like wine happy hours or daily baked treats (our innkeepers made homemade chocolate chip cookies, pictured left, every day!) guests that mingle and don’t simply pass one another in the hallway to get to their rooms (you can of course have solitude when you want it), and innkeepers that truly make you feel welcomed in a way that makes you want to plan your next trip right away.
*Go with someone you care about, it doesn’t matter which relationship, or go alone for some much needed peace and quiet that seems like a retreat.
*Listen to recommendations, try out new things and embrace new experiences.
*Eat. Eat. Eat. Whenever I’m able to make these short getaway trips I’m always happily surprised that even the smallest quaint towns have some amazing places to eat and they’re often half the price tag of what you might pay back home. Take advantage. And the really great thing about those places is that they are steeped in charm and tradition. There are often wonderful stories behind the food and if you’re lucky you’ll get to hear those first.